Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Spokane Bets Generosity Trumps Glitz ‘n’ Glamor

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA110-year-old clock tower alongside Spokane’s river

is all that remains of the Great Northern Rail Depot

Story & photo by

Cecil Scaglione

Mature Life Features

SPOKANE, Wash. – As Nevada’s Glitter Gulch kicks the “H” out of hospitality in its dedicated drive for dollars, a gaming group here is tucking it back in.

For example, players’ club members at the Northern Quest Resort and Casino about 15 minutes from downtown get a credit on their losses if they return to play. Diners at Masselow’s, the triple A Four Diamond main restaurant among the 14 eateries in the complex, receive a miniature bark-canoe-full of fry bread and huckleberry jam. Occupants of its 250 rooms, who can have a Fatburger delivered to their room at any time of night or day, get free airport shuttle service as well as to and from downtown Spokane. Women even get one-third off the price of a cigar on Ladies Night (Thursday) in the comfortable spirits club room.

It’s down-home service with a swagger. You can see it all around you on the 250-acre Quest complex that was awarded to the 400-member Kalispel tribe in trust because the contours and condition of their reservation an hour north make it unfeasible to build any commercial enterprises on that  land.

Besides concerts and other on-site diversions associated with casinos, there’s plenty do when you leave a gaming table or slot machine and head for daylight. Everyone on staff is quick to tell you there are innumerable lakes and rivers and mountains within 40 minutes of the casino.

Hiking, biking, fishing, birding, skiing, snowshoeing: they’re all available. So is picking your own apples – there are more than 100 varieties to choose from – nectarines, peaches, strawberries, corn, carrots, grapes and several other types of fruit and vegetables in season. They’re tended by the dozens of farms and orchards clustered around Green Bluffs an hour north of town.

Several have mini playgrounds to keep youngsters entertained while you harvest. If you don’t have the time or energy to gather your own, you can buy just-picked picked produce, along with wedges of freshly made pies, jellies and jams, and an array of tongue-teasing homemade products.

If hunting is your hobby, “Deer are like rabbits around here,” according to one local resident.

While driving around the countryside, you can stop at any of the several wineries and sip samples. At Townshend Cellars, we were treated to a 2002 huckleberry port. An added attraction at the Arbor Crest tasting room, better known as The Cliff House, is the view. There’s the Spokane skyline over one shoulder and the mountains of Idaho over the other.

The east-west Spokane River flows below. It’s bordered by the Centennial Trial, a 39-mile paved strip open to hikers, bikers, skaters and horses that stretches from the neighboring state line to the east on through downtown Spokane’s Riverfront Park.
A major feature of the park, which was a hub of activity during the city’s 1974 World’s Fair, are the falls that pour water westward through the heart of the city.

After touring the city and countryside, your hunger can be assuaged by a 22-inch one-pound hot dog in The Q, the casino’s sports bar dominated by the largest plasma television screen produced by Panasonic. It’s 10 feet by 30 feet. You can add fries to that dog with local fry sauce, a mixture of ketchup and mayonnaise.

Mature Life Features, Copyright 2012

Written by Cecil Scaglione

May 26, 2013 at 6:21 pm

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